||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification, as it includes attribution to IMDb. (July 2009)|
Kotzen performing in October, 2009
Photo: Roberto Scorta
February 3, 1970 |
Reading, Pennsylvania United States
|Genres||Hard rock, instrumental rock, blues rock, funk rock, heavy metal, jazz fusion, soul, blues|
|Instruments||Guitar, vocals, piano, bass, drums, keyboards, mandolin, dobro,|
|Associated acts||Greg Howe, Poison, Vertú, Mr. Big|
|Richie Kotzen Signature Telecaster
Richie Kotzen (born February 3, 1970 in Reading, Pennsylvania) is an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter.
At a young age, Richie Kotzen was taken by music and first began playing piano at the age of five. At the age of seven he was inspired by the band KISS to learn the electric guitar. Relentlessly developing chops and his own unique voice on the guitar, he started his career in a band named Arthurs Museum. Kotzen was eventually discovered by Shrapnel Records' Mike Varney, and he recorded his first solo album by the age of 19. He created the video Rock Chops for REH video in 1989, highlighting many of his formative techniques, including using wide-intervals and fluid sweeping.
In 1991, Kotzen made his big break when he joined the rock band Poison at age 21, co-writing and performing on the album Native Tongue. This album produced two top twenty singles which Richie co-wrote, "Stand" and "Until You Suffer Some (Fire & Ice)". In late-1993, Rikki Rockett, the drummer of Poison, discovered that Kotzen was having a relationship with Rockett's fiancee, Deanna Eve. Kotzen was dismissed due to this incident. In 1999 Kotzen replaced Paul Gilbert as guitarist in the mainstream rock band Mr. Big. Kotzen maintained the band's success, performing on the Mr. Big record Get Over It, which sold more than 175,000 copies in its first two weeks in Japan, eventually reaching platinum status. Kotzen also contributed guitars to Mr. Big's subsequent release Actual Size. The record included the Kotzen song Shine, which debuted at number one on Japanese radio charts. Following the disbanding of Mr. Big, Kotzen released the solo album Change, in 2003. The title track, and the song Get A Life were featured in TV commercials throughout Japan.
In 2002 Kotzen bought a commercial building in Los Angeles and established a recording Studio/Production company. He has since been producing acclaimed solo albums and collaborating with various figures in rock (Gene Simmons), jazz, and fusion including jazz legend Stanley Clarke.
Guitar playing style 
Kotzen has described his style as a mix of rock, blues, jazz, fusion, and soul music. Of his albums, he claims he is most proud of Vertú. Kotzen utilizes a heavy amount of legato and sweeping in his playing. His main influence were Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eddie Van Halen, Jason Becker - who produced his first album, Allan Holdsworth and many other jazz/fusion players.
Instruments and equipment 
Kotzen has used Fender telecaster electric guitars for most of his career, most notably his signature model Telecasters and Stratocasters, as well as other custom made models. Currently, there are two Richie Kotzen signature models, made by Fender Japan – a Stratocaster (STR-145RK) and a Telecaster (TLR-155RK). Both guitars feature ash bodies with laminated flame maple caps, maple necks and one piece maple fretboards with abalone dot inlays and 22 super jumbo frets. The Telecaster model features a DiMarzio Chopper T pickup in the bridge position (single spaced humbucker) and a DiMarzio Twang King in the neck position. The Stratocaster is fitted with three custom made DiMarzio single coil pickups.
At the beginning of his career, Richie Kotzen used Ibanez guitars and Laney amplifiers before switching to Fender guitars and Marshall amplifiers in the early 1990s. He used Marshall Super Lead, JCM800 and JCM900 models as well as Yamaha DG Series amps in the late 90's. Yamaha DG1000 preamp with Marshall EL34 100/100 poweramp, and Yamaha DG130H, Yamaha DG100 combo etc.
In 2005, Cornford Amplification issued a Richie Kotzen signature model – RK100, a single channel tube amp head developed and designed in collaboration with Kotzen to suit his expansive playing style. There is also a matching signature model speaker cabinet, equipped with four Celestion Vintage 30 12" speakers. Both the amplifier head and the speaker cabinet are the only Cornford models fit with Kotzen-style black tolex covering.
Kotzen prefers not to use many pedals (effects in general) when playing live. However, over the years, he has been using several versions of Sobbat Drivebraker and Glowvibe pedals on top of Marshall amps when not playing with the Cornford. He also uses reverb and delay effects of his signature series Zoom G2R effects processor, which is connected in the effects loop of the amplifier.
Arthurs Museum 
- (1988) Gallery Closed
Solo albums 
- (1989) Richie Kotzen
- (1990) Fever Dream
- (1991) Electric Joy
- (1994) Mother Head's Family Reunion
- (1995) The Inner Galactic Fusion Experience
- (1999) Bi-Polar Blues
- (1998) What Is...
- (1999) Break It All Down
- (1997) Something to Say
- (1996) Wave of Emotion
- (2003) Change
- (2001) Slow
- (2004) Get Up
- (2003) Acoustic Cuts
- (2005) Ai Senshi Z×R (Music from the animation series Gundam)
- (2006) Into The Black
- (2007) Go Faster/Return Of The Mother Head's Family Reunion
- (2009) Peace Sign
- (2011) 24 Hours
Live albums 
- (1996) Times Gonna Tell (EP)
- (2004) The Best Of Richie Kotzen (Greatest Hits)
- (2006) Instrumental Collection: The Shrapnel Years
- (2010) A Best of Collection
- (2010) A Ballads Collection
- (1993) Native Tongue
Richie Kotzen & Greg Howe 
Sass Jordan 
- (1994) Rats (backing vocals)
Mr. Big 
- (1999) Get Over It
- (2000) Deep Cuts
- (2001) Actual Size
- (2002) In Japan
- (2004) Influences & Connections – Vol. 1
Forty Deuce 
- (2005) Nothing to Lose
Wilson Hawk 
- (2009) The Road
The Winery Dogs 
- (2013) "The Winery Dogs"
- (1993) The Electric Pow Wow (with Stevie Salas)
- (1996) Sticky Wicked (with TM Stevens)
- (1996) Ground Zero (with TM Stevens)
- (1996) Only You (with TM Stevens)
- (1999) Not So Innocent (with Jesse's Powertrip)
- (2000) Mikazuki in Rock (with Mikazuki Tekkodan)
- (2000) Submarine (with Gregg Bissonette)
- (2003) All That I'd Be (with Steve Saluto)
- (2004) Nowhere To Go (with Takayoshi Ohmura)
- (2004) ***Hole (with Gene Simmons)
- (2006) Rough Beat (with Steve Saluto)
- (2006) Avalon (with Richie Zito)
- (2006) Erotic Cakes (with Guthrie Govan)
- (2007) Emotions in Motion (with Takayoshi Ohmura)
- (2007) Live For Tomorrow (with Marco Mendoza)
- (2010) Resurrection (with Steve Saluto)
- (2010) You Can't Save Me – Remix (with Clarence Jey & Steve Mcleod)
Various artists albums 
- (1991) Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey: Music from the Motion Picture
- (1992) L.A. Blues Authority – "L.A. Blues Authority"
- (1992) The Guitars That Rule The World – Vol. 1
- (1994) L.A. Blues Authority Volume V: Cream Of The Crop
- (1996) Crossfire – (A Tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan)
- (1997) Black Night – Deep Purple Tribute According To New York
- (2000) Bat Head Soup: A Tribute to Ozzy
- (2001) Stone Cold Queen: A Tribute to Queen
- (2002) One Way Street: A Tribute To Aerosmith CD
- (2002) An All Star Lineup Performing The Songs Of Pink Floyd
- (2004) Spirit Lives On: The Music Of Jimi Hendrix Revisited Vol. 1
- (2005) Numbers From The Beast – An All Stars Salute To Iron Maiden
- (2010) Siam Shade Tribute
- (1989) Rock Chops
- (1993) 7 Days Live (Live shot concert with Poison)(re-released 2006)
- (1994) Mother Head's Family Reunion DVD
- (1994) Mother Head's family Reunion (Video-clip from the Mother Head's family Reunion Album)
- (1996) Wave of Emotion (Video-clip from the Wave of Emotion Album)
- (1997) Something To Say (Video-clip from the Something To Say Album)
- (2001) Don't Wanna Lie (Video-clip from the Slow Album)
- (2001) Shine (Video-clip from Mr. Big's Actual Size Album)
- (2002) Hi-Tech Rock Guitar
- (2005) Live In South America
- (2008) Chase It (Video-clip from the R.O.T.M.F.R. Album)
- (2008) Bootlegged in Brazil
- (2009) Everything Good (Video-clip from Wilson Hawk 'The Road' Album)
- (2009) Paying Dues (Video-clip from 'Peace Sign' Album filmed by Kotzen's daughter at home)
- (2010) Larger Than Life (Video-clip from 'Peace Sign' Album filmed by Kotzen's)
- (2011) Behind Blue Eyes (Acoustic Video-clip filmed by Kotzen's)
- (2011) 24 Hours (Video-clip from '24 Hours' Album filmed by Kotzen's)
- Portnoy, Mike. "MP Studio Diary for Portnoy/Sheehan/Kotzen sessions - Day 1". Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- Portnoy, Mike. "MP Studio Diary for Portnoy/Sheehan/Koten sessions - Day 14". Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- "THE WINERY DOGS: Official Logo, Band Photo Unveiled". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
-  Allmusic Entry
- Official Richie Kotzen site
- Richie Kotzen at the Internet Movie Database
- Richie Kotzen Live in Argentina
- Kotzen's solo with Mr. Big
- http://www.myspace.com/richiekotzen (Official MySpace page)
- http://groups.myspace.com/MHFR (official MySpace Richie Kotzen group)
- Interview on IronCityRocks.com
- Richie Kotzen discography at MusicBrainz